10 Steps to Becoming a Great Photographer

Famous New York-based camera store B&H occasionally hosts hour-long presentations, and they’ve begun condensing them into 15-minute highlight videos for the world to digest more quickly. One great example is this lecture by Canadian photographer Steve Simon, in which he establishes the 10 steps every budding photographer should take in order to get recognized:

The 10 Steps to Photography Greatness

  1. Passion is an inch wide, and a mile deep. Explore your passion through photography—use it as a theme and a starting point to understand what you want to shoot.
  2. Create a large volume of work. The more you shoot, the better you get. Also true: The more you shoot, the luckier you’re likely to get.
  3. Hard work is good. Easy images are never as fulfilling as hard-won ones. Always try different angles and different exposures, while looking at what worked afterward.
  4. Be okay with being alone. Being a great photographer requires concentration and—though it’s difficult in a crowd—mental isolation.
  5. Photographing people gets easier. This isn’t just about composed portraits, although it definitely applies; it’s also about understanding portraiture for spontaneous candid moments.
  6. Understand light. A bit basic, maybe, but only with time will you start to be able to implicitly understand the difference between ISO 100 and 200 without even looking through the viewfinder.
  7. Choose the right pictures. When editing, it’s important to set aside your emotions and choose photos that best represent the emotion or moment we’re trying to capture.
  8. Assess your strengths and weaknesses. Take a moment every so often—maybe once a year or more often—to evaluate your progress as a photographer, including your greatest accomplishments and where you need to improve.
  9. Have a plan. Create strategies to define your personal goals, rather than shooting aimlessly. Commercial photography? Fashion portraits? Photojournalism? Know what you want and plan a way to get there.
  10. Follow through. Get your images out there, no matter what it takes. Use social media—PictureSocial, Flickr, 500px, Instagram—and let the world know you’re there.

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